Pakistan: Imran Khan achieved immunity from arrest in several cases but tension with the Government continues

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, center, leaves a court after appearing in Lahore, Pakistan, Friday, May 19, 2023. (AP Photo/KM Chaudary)

In the midst of the violence caused by the protests and threats from the Army, the former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, continued his legal battle before a court in the capital, Islamabad, which awarded him protection against arrest until early next month in several cases.

Development occurs when the authorities have been suppressing Khan’s supporters, now Pakistan’s main opposition leader. Thousands staged violent protests and attacked public property and military installations following Khan’s arrest earlier this month.

The violence subsided only after Khan was released by order of the country’s Supreme Court. Ten people died in clashes with the police.

Khan, who was ousted in a vote of no confidence in parliament in April last year, has campaigned against the government of his successor, Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, claiming that his ouster was illegal and demanding early elections.

But Khan claims he was ousted by an American plot, a charge denied by Washington and the Sharif government. Since his departure, he has intensified his campaign to overthrow the Sharif government through “people’s pressure.”

Since then, the 70-year-old former cricket star turned Islamist politician has been embroiled in more than 100 legal cases against him. He faces corruption charges allegedly committed while in office and has been accused of terrorism in eight cases by the violent protests of his supporters and his party.

After the Islamabad court on Tuesday granted Khan protection from arrest on terrorism charges until June 8, he and his wife traveled to the nearby city of Rawalpindi, where Khan appeared before the National Accountability Office to answer questions. in a separate corruption case.

Imran Khan supporters who participated in the violent protests (REUTERS/Fayaz Aziz/File Photo)
Followers of Imran Khan who participated in the violent protests (REUTERS/Fayaz Aziz/File Photo) (FAYAZ AZIZ/)

After a four-hour interrogation, the couple returned to their home in Lahore.

The couple is accused of accepting a donation of property to build a private university in exchange for providing benefits to a real estate magnate. Khan denies this, saying that he and his wife, Bushra Bibi, were not involved in any crime.

Meanwhile, in a blow to Khan, a close aide who served as rights minister in his government from 2018-2022, announced on Tuesday that he was leaving Pakistan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf party and politics altogether.

Shireen Mazari has been outspoken in criticizing the Pakistan Army and the Sharif government. She was arrested last Thursday on charges of inciting people to violence, then she was released on Monday, only to be arrested again later in the evening. She was released again some time later and spoke at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon.

I have decided to leave active politics and I will not be a part of PTI (Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf) or any political party from today,” Mazari said, adding that he was resigning for health reasons. She did not elaborate.

Mazari, who has also denounced recent violence by Khan’s supporters, is among several leaders of Khan’s party who left him due to the deadly protests.

Also on Tuesday Fayyazul Hassan Chohananother key leader in Khan’s party, told a news conference in Islamabad that he is leaving the party over Khan’s “policy of confrontation with the state and the military”.

In Pakistan, the army has ruled for half of its 75-year history.

(With information from AP)

Keep reading:

Pakistan: Deadline for Imran Khan to hand over suspects has expired, and police maintain siege on his home

Pakistan: thousands of people demanded the resignation of the president of the Supreme Court for having released former prime minister

The tension in Pakistan continues: the police surrounded the house of the former prime minister and accused him of hiding protesters